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The Color of Compromise

The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism
Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)
Regular price: $25.09
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Publisher's Summary

An acclaimed, timely narrative of how people of faith have historically - up to the present day - worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response. 

The Color of Compromise is both enlightening and compelling, telling a history we either ignore or just don’t know. Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church. 

The Color of Compromise:

  • Takes you on a historical, sociological, and religious journey: from America’s early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War 
  • Covers the tragedy of Jim Crow laws, the victories of the Civil Rights era, and the strides of today’s Black Lives Matter movement 
  • Reveals the cultural and institutional tables we have to flip in order to bring about meaningful integration 
  • Charts a path forward to replace established patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, immediate action 
  • Is a perfect book for pastors and other faith leaders, students, non-students, book clubs, small group studies, history lovers, and all lifelong learners 

The Color of Compromise is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to standup now and begin implementing the concrete ways Tisby outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God’s people. Starting today.

©2019 Jemar Tisby (P)2019 Zondervan

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Great!

Thanks Jemar!!!! God Bless you for your labors here. And may God use it to let His Kingdom come down with righteousness like an ever flowing stream!

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Amazing author and narrator

Author is very knowledgeable on the subject and I learned a lot as a reader.

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  • JMW
  • MINNEAPOLIS, MN, United States
  • 02-07-19

Sensational

Dear listeners and readers,

Enjoy this magnificent book dredging up the truth about white evangelicalism's relationship to racism and the courageous hope that punctuates this book. It's likely your college history courses didn't cover all this, so pick this up and give it a listen. You'll be glad you did.

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Anti-Racism but not Anti-Bigotry

Generally blunt in content but gentle in tone, Tisby’s book is a pleasant resource for a suburban evangelical book club. He is urgently careful to not lose his connection with those who might be ready to take only the next small step. Even as he emphasizes how bigotry ADAPTS to changing circumstances rather than disappearing, Tisby tacitly approves of his faithful readers trading some measure of racism for modern bigotry toward other others. Ironically, his suggested “broad-based reform efforts” seem to redline sexism and abject hate for LGBT children of God as simply a matter of conscience. Ultimately, Tisby may be more influential in this pandering Zondervan title than he would have been in a more serious (and arguably more Christian) book. Would it be better to have integrity and be ignored by those unready to hear the truth? Or is it better to avoid “the baggage” (as he calls it in an online essay) of his readers’ newest targets and, thus, maintain his audience? Earlier in the book, he rails against moderation, but his sentences become more calculating and compromising as he approaches his own moment in history. Tisby is a talented writer, and many parts of this book are masterful as a pastoral lesson regarding the evils of racism. Truly, I enjoyed this book, until its own self-preserving compromises unfolded.

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Jemar Tisby calls the church to repentance

Mr. Tisby has written a great book. The research and care can be seen in how he crafted each chapter, and I enjoyed how it progressed you from the American Church's earliest days all the way to the present. I was shocked to learn just how much the klan was entwined within the church from the pulpit to the parishioner. While it may not be that way now, the pervasive attitudes have held on, and we need to shine a light on every cobwebbed filled corner of our local bodies. This book is the perfect starting point for any group or church looking to overcome racial complicity within their local church. Don't expect an easy listen (though Jemar does an amazing job reading it as well), you'll need to take your time and digest it, but expect it to be a life-changing read.

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Sobering yet enlightening

As I navigated the contents of this book I am both amazed and horrified by what I encountered. Me. Rainy expertly gives a survey of church history, sighting major and minor events while weaving a coherent narrative. I appreciate how he gives citations on his claims, which highlight his efforts for accuracy. I have 2 qualms with the book however. First, there are times where I believe he struggles to decide whether this is a pure history book or a narrative story. While it does not destruct much I can tell that he is a historian first and writer second. Secondly I do feel that there could have been more rebuke on the black church. He does address this in part towards the conclusion of the book but I feel that just a small bit more could have helped to round out the book.
Overall it was a great read and I would highly recommend it.

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Introductory survey of racism and the church

Racism is hard to talk about because we have a hard time agreeing with what racism is. Not only the definition of the word, but looking at specific events the discussion frequently devolves into, ‘That was racist’ and ‘I don’t understand how you can say that was racist’. 

The Color of Compromise is an introductory survey of how the church has compromised with racism over history. Early chapters cover slavery and the divides within the church over the Civil War, Jim Crow, segregation and the Civil Rights movement. All of this is well done and important, but also a history that I think many will be relatively familiar with. 

I think where The Color of Compromise really is valuable and most important (and will be most controversial) is the last several chapters where racism is less overt and where Tisby specifically is using comparisons with Billy Graham and a few others to show that even when there may not be intention, harm can still occur. 

"In previous eras, racism among Christian believers was much easier to detect and identify. Professing believers openly used racial slurs, participated in beatings and lynchings, fought wars to preserve slavery, or used the Bible to argue for the inherent inferiority of black people. And those who did not openly resist these actions—those who remained silent—were complicit in their acceptance. Since the 1970s, Christian complicity in racism has become more difficult to discern. It is hidden, but that does not mean it no longer exists. (page 155)"

The word Compromise in Color of Compromise I think was well chosen. Racism, like many other things is not just overt harmful action, but also the times when it is easier to just not say or do anything. The examples of Billy Graham compared to Martin Luther King Jr or other figures from our recent past really do give the best illustrations in the book about how subtle, but real, lack of attention to how racial lines create an other matters. 
Early in the book when talking about Reconstruction, Tisby says, "Even after the calamitous events of the Civil War, many citizens and politicians maintained a moderate stance on race and civil rights. Unionists in the North tended to show more concern about the status of former white Confederates than for the status of freedpeople (page 92)"

It is easier to see with overt actions, but the later chapters are important in showing that when the church is racially isolated or assumes White normative culture or bias, those that are not White are alienated. Said another way, if we as individuals have a view of the person we are identifying with in a situation and we default to identifying with the White people in the story but we do not include identifying with non-White people in the story of a situation, then we have drawn a line about who we included as children of God and who we do not. 

The tragedy of the Color of Compromise is not just that slavery or Jim Crow happened and that at the church was largely on the wrong side. The tragedy of Color of Compromise is that because slavery and Jim Crow happened, and minority Christians were largely pushed out and separate White and non-White churches arose, leaving a relational break, which led to a cultural separation, which has resulted in modern lack of empathy and a lack of awareness among much of the White church that there even is a problem.The church as a whole is no longer fighting about whether slavery is biblical (there is still some discussion on these questions, but not much). The church as a whole as not however, adequately grappled with how patterns of history have led to continued separation that today has resulted in a compromised church that is unable to squarely address racism.

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  • Nick
  • GRAND JUNCTION, CO, United States
  • 01-24-19

Deeply thoughtful and articulate

Jemar is deeply thoughtful and articulate on this much needed topic. He has been a consistent voice of reason, insight, and wisdom for me in all his work. We all would benefit from pausing and reflecting on the content of this book.

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Great read!

Great read! Narration and content easy to understand. Aligns with the Bible and current day challenges with solutions. A must read!

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Very opinionated

was hoping to get a better understanding of racial biases but instead found tidbits of information skewed toward everything is against black people. came away with less empathy and did not find this based on biblical thinking.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Joshua
  • 02-13-19

History with an unnecessary addition

I picked this book up as a passing interest in its premise. Not being an American and only seeing things in movies to do with their history I thought it might be a good read, from a Christian viewpoint. I think the easiest way to say why I only gave it 2 stars is from a pro/con list.

Pro's:
The history was interesting and there were moments where I felt sick or wanted to cry.
Learning the history of complicity in racism in the church, especially looking at it on the view of the church modeling culture rather than Jesus, is a sobering reminder of the dangers of getting close to the world and what can happen because of that.

Con's:
This may be my mistake, but I thought this was supposed to be from a Christian perspective. While many statements are made (expecting us to believe it is truth according to the bible) no justification or passages are ever given. From memory, there was only one bible passage used and it was at the end, in regards to someone else and their initiative.

The writer seems to have rose coloured glasses on. To clarify, there are a few times where the author refers to the slaves homeland and almost waxes lyrical about it. Including, in a way, promoting their pagan beliefs. Again, may be my mistake in believing it was from a Christian perspective. This issue is also seen in the authors take on Martin Luther King Jr though. It is kind of portrayed that MLK was perfect (maybe not that far, but making the point). Overall, this adds a bias to the book, that while hard to avoid when telling history, does ruin it a little.

The history part was interesting. The author should have stopped there, unfortunately the author then goes on to make it a political piece, specifically against the republican party, which I found weird. I can understand what he is saying in regards to the republican party, but find it weird that they are solely focused on. Maybe this one is just an American thing though?

There are other issues I have with it as well, but I feel this is getting a bit long and don't want to be too negative.

I do think the book is worth a read, I just wouldn't hold too much stock in it.